Bernar Venet is a French artist who is an adept of monumental steel sculptures. In Nice, it is undoubtedly thanks to his work “Neuf lignes obliques”, an imposing structure with orange reflections facing the Mediterranean, that he left his mark on the inhabitants.
In 2009, Venet stayed in Nice, the city where he grew up, and met Christian Estrosi. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the attachment of the county of Nice to France, the current mayor of the city asked him to create a unique and striking sculpture. The question of the location of such a project was then debated. The point of Rauba Capeu? Not optimal. The Castle Hill? Too expensive. And why not the Georges Pompidou esplanade, a square in the Old Nice open on the Quai des Etats-Unis, the Promenade des Anglais and the Mediterranean coast?
Five months later, the sculpture was inaugurated in this privileged location. At 30 metres high and with its 75 tons of steel on its 130-ton concrete base, it is the tallest and heaviest work of art intended for public space in France.
Some inhabitants, after observing the Venet iron arch near Place Masséna, are reluctant to host such a project. Will it distort the “Prom”, one of the most famous avenues in the world with its prestigious hotels such as the Negresco?
Finally perceived as a landmark towards Old Nice and a work that brings people together, it is with pride that the people of Nice welcome this gift from Bernar Venet. Indeed, estimated at 2 million euros, the city only paid for the manufacture and installation of the work, a derisory cost when one knows the talent and fame of the artist.
Let us now talk about its significance. In fact, the monument represents everything and nothing at the same time. If for some specialists the nine vertical beams meeting towards the sky represent the nine valleys that converge towards Nice, the author, for his part, affirms that his works have their own identity. They have neither meaning nor defined symbolism.
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